The first sentence of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – as if you didn’t know. Not necessarily my favourite book but one that I’ve had for a long time and one of the first given to me probably as a Christmas present, though I can’t be sure of that. It’s also one of the first I remember reading for myself – as opposed to having read to me and that really does make a difference.
Quite a good way to start with direct speech. It then goes on to give a comment from each of the four sisters, showing the reader what sort of girls they are and what matters most to each of them, even if Beth does come across as rather nauseatingly goody-goody.
Looking back I find I can’t see any sense in Mrs March’s proposal – or more like an order – that her daughters shouldn’t spend any money on themselves because their father – and many other men in the army are suffering. I’m with Jo all the way when she says “I don’t think the little we should spend would do any good. We’ve each got a dollar, and the army wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that,”
In fact I’d say they would be helping the economy by buying books and drawing materials and music. In the same way I can’t see any sense in not spending money myself and claiming it is somehow helping the British economy. Unless I am spending money that isn’t mine or cash that should be used to feed my family and clothe my kids, I reckon spending a few pounds on a meal in a cafe now and again is actually helping the economy. It helps to provide work for the cafe owners, the waitresses who serve the meal, the chef who cooks it and the people who provided the raw materials – the meat and veg and fruit that went into the meal. I also get some satisfaction out of eating with friends. If we took too much notice of our government and no-one spent anything the country would go down the drain evan faster than it is doing!
In the end the girls decide not to spend their money on themselves but buy presents for their mother and later on they give their own Christmas breakfast to a poor family down the road and content themselves with bread and milk. Sounds to me just a little too good to be true!